tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 13, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT
to investigate. >> we are here to ask the tough questions, and i think there is plenty of room for tough questions to be asked. you and i will keep talking. we'll see where this thing keeps going. >> you bet, rick. good to be with you. >> appreciate it. >> nice new studio. >> look at that. we have folks here. say hello and ready. we're going to move to wolf we're going to move to wolf blitzer in three, two, 1. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com r a new well cap could stop the oil from flowing. stay here. we're going to have liven coverage. what's inside medicine americans use every single day. we're talking about painkillers and other medicines all made in
china and not subject to tough inspection this this country. we're investigating. a native american lacrosse team is stopped from traveling overseas to compete in a world championship. it's a dispute of passport and a right of indian tribes in the united states to govern themselves. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." it's the closest thing yet to putting an "off" switch on the leaking oil well in the gulf of mexico. we're glued those live underwater pictures because testing is expected to begin very soon, perhaps this hour on the new well cap. it involves closing wells that could actually stop, stop the oil from gushing or at least slow it down considerably. cnn's reporter is covering this story for us. explain the very latest to our viewers, ed. >> reporter: well, right now we're waiting for bp officials
and other scientists to begin what is called the integrity test on that well and the blowout preventer that's but put in place and what officials are looking for is to make sure that everything down there at the bottom of the gulf of mexico will work and make this containment cap create one of two possibilities. what they want to do is either that this containment cap will work by itself and not allow any more oil to escape, or perhaps work with the help of riser pipes to connect. so this is a complex test and they've been prepared for it. we had anticipated that they might have started this morning, but they say they've been doing other steps to prepare for this integrity test. it's been pushed back several times today but the latest briefing we got just a short while ago is this could very well be starting here late this afternoon and all indications
are that's what will take place. admir admiral thad allen kind of described for reporters what it is that they're looking for in these complex tests. >> in this exercise, high pressure is good. we have a considerable amount of pressure on the reservoir, forcing hydrocarbons up through the wellbore. we're lookingener between 8,000 and 9,000 psi which would indicate to us that the hydrocarbons are being forced up and the wellbore would be able to withstand that pressure and that is good news. >> so, wolf, kind of complex language but the hydrocarbons are the oil and natural gas. they want that high amount of pressure. if that is low pressure, that means the oil and gas is escaping from somewhere else. they have been frank that they wouldn't know where that is. even though it seems a little bit counterintuitive. if you want this oil to stop,
you should be rooting for that high pressure and they say that should help this containment cap work in the right way. wolf? >> ed, why didn't they try this sooner? >> you know what? it's interesting. the bottom line here is this particular containment cap that they're working with right now simply wasn't ready. that goes back to the bigger criticism of the oil industry where critics say, look, they weren't ready, weren't prepared, didn't have the technical know-how to deal with this situation and that's what we've been seeing for the last three months where engineers, multiple teams have been working on different plans. if you look back in may where they used the big top hat and it failed so quickly because of everything that had froze about up and that sort of thing, that all of those steps had been in the learning process to get to this point. but quite simply what they say is this particular containment cap wasn't ready until now.
>> ed lavandera, don't go away. it's enormous in size and weight. they call the cap 18 feet tall and 75 tons. it's installed on top of a flange transition tool. all of that goes on top of the reconfigurered blowout prevent owner the well, which is 48 feet tall and weighs 450 tons. all together that equipment is about eight stories high shooting up from the sea floor and it weighs about 530 tons. clearly there's a lot riding on this new well cap and whether it works. we'll know soon. fewer are feeling the weight as much as the prot's point man admiral thad allen. how did that go, brian?
>> reporter: it went very well, wolf. but you can get a sense how anxious a period this is. we do have some late information. the seismic tests that were preparatory, those have been completed and at this hour, the crucial well pressure test was expected to begin after that replacement cap was put on. bp officials and the incident commander admiral allen have gathered here at the war rooming and i spoke with him about it. the commander said these are some of the most critical days in the entire operation. admiral thad allen says if they measure it for six hours or more, then this well is not strong enough to hold the seal cap. >> the final effect of this will be an order. >> how much pressure are you feeling knowing that you have to make that call and it could determine the pressure of this. >> that could would be input
from the scientific communities, tall best minds in the united states that we can get working on i. wherever we're at, i won't be a thad allen decision. it will be the whole world. >> reporter: he describes the atmosphere instied bp command center where hundreds of people have been working around the clock. >> when that cap got put into place, what was it like? cheers? >> it's like a war room except everybody's more informally dressed. it's called the hive. it's actually pretty quiet. >> reporter: allen said no one stood up and cheered but there was a sense of optimism. we got a sense of the room called the hive during a recent visit to bp's command center. >> roger that. >> reporter: i had to speak inhushed tones.
>> inside the command center these are the lead engineers talking to the engineers on the boat, giving them commands, seeing in realtime what they're looking at. we're not supposed to talk to these gentlemen because they're so involved in what they're doing out there. allen is trying not to be too optimistic? >> has it taken a toll on your family? >> at this point i was considered to be retired. my wife and i were supposed to be on a trip to ireland. that will happen when it happens. >> reporter: they make clear it is the attachment of the relief wells that will be the milwaukee-or-break part of this operation. right now the well that is close toast the leaking well, the relief well that is closest is running parallel to the leaking well. they have a few dozen to go. it's only about four feet from the leaking well so yu get a sense it's getting much closer. we still won't know whether that's going to work until late
july or early august. >> but we will know whether the cap is going to work in the next few hours or days. these are critical moments. brian, don't go away. we're going to have more of your interview with thad allen later. there's plenty of finger pointing. did bp also play the role in the release of a convicted terrorist. we're taking a look at britain's new decision. also a missing scientist suddenly turns up in washington, d.c., but the mystery surrounding his disappearance hasn't been solve d. >> stay with us. you're in "the situation room." to the seekers of things which are one of a kind. the authentic, the rare, the hard to define. to those who'd climb mountains or sail across seas...
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president obama jokes he had to do horse trading with hillary to find a nomination for the budge director. jacob lew is in. when jack left that post at the end of the clinton administration he handed the next administration a record $236 billion budget surplus. the day i took office eight years later america face add record $1.3 trillion deficit.
jack's challenge over the next fif you'rfew years is to use extraordinary skill to cut down the deficit and put the nation back on a fiscally responsible path and i have the utmost faith in his ability to achieve this goal as a central member of this economic team. >> if confirmed by the senate, lew would replace orszag, the first obama cabinet member to resign. his poll has fallen to the all-time low. let's discuss wit our political a analyst gloria borger. >> it shows you the effects politically of the economic anxiety that people in this country are feeling. and it's really not great news for the democrats because "the washington post" asks people who do you believe should be in
charge of the congress the next time around, and not surprisingly more than half said, you know what? we think the republicans should be in charge. they do want a change, not the kind of change that barack obama envisioned. what's the most interesting to me and has been in the recent polls is that independent voters who had flipped back to the democratic party in the last election and who always liked barack obama are now saying by a 15-point margin that they prefer to have republicans in charge rather than democrats so that is a big warning sign. there it is. that is a big warning sign for the party, for the democratic party. >> it sort of reminds me, i covered the clinton white house. it was disastrous. these numbers are sort of day shah view. >> they are deja vu.
it's always dangerous for a midterm president. obama's popularity was about what bill clinton's popularity was at the time, but here again when "the washington post" asked are you inclined to re-elect your representative in congress or look somewhere else, 6% said they ieng going to lock around. so, you know, it looks on the face of it a little bit worse for the democrats now, but i was talking to pollsters today. couple of things to keep in mind. one is it's not that the people don't like democrats. they don't like anyone right now. the republicans could be -- their incumbents could be in trouble too. in 1994 the democrats were completely surprised. they weren't ready for the onslaught. they weren't prepared. also one more thing, in 1994, it had been 40 years since the republicans had controlled the house of representatives and now
democrats can say, okay, wait a minute, remember when knut gingrich controlled the house? there's more recent memory. they're hoping that it won't be as bad in 94 when bill clinton lost 54 seats. >> i guess a lot of people slim like divided government. they like the checks and balances. >> in theory they like it. and, you know, who knows. it may work out better than one party government is right now as far as independents are concerned. >> we'll see what happens. look for bill clinton to play a sig is can't role for campaigning for democrats as we head closer and closer to the midterm elections. the obama white house is planning a schedule. let's look at our senior white house correspondent ed henry. walk us through what's going on here. >> wolf, it's very interesting how this came together. late last month i'm told after bill clinton sort of blindsided
this white house by endorsing andrew, a democrat out in the colorado senate race against michael bennett who president obama has endorsed, that has caught people off guard. they were concerned. they called the clinton camp. they want a heads up on the political moves. so i'm told a day after all that weekend down, doug bane came over here to the white house, met with a political director, not only trying to smooth things over but they sat down and mapped out an aggressive plan. i'm told they're going to put the former president in a lot of states toward country in what democratic officials are calling what they think will be a strong one-two punch wolf. >> where do you think they'll be campaigning? >> there's no doubt he'll be campaigning in arkansas. that's his home state. you'll remember he helped blanche lincoln face the primary runoff. now she's facing another. but also in kentucky.
you've got a democrat jack conway who's facing rand paul, the republican. he's faced a whole series of republicans as you know. they fweefb got to pick up opportunity to flip a republican seat to democratic hand. so bottom line is bill clinton can go to southern state tlieks where president obama is not that popular, wolf. >> a lot of us remember -- of course, everyone remembers bill clinton on the campaign trail for his wife when she was running for the nomination. are there any concerns for the white house in looking back then and what might happen now? when you talk to democratic officials close to the white house they're very nervous about the growing number of polls throughout especially with independent voters that gloria was just talking about so it's
basically all hands on deck. maybe they've learned a lessen from al gore back in 2000 who could have used him a little bit more. >> he would have been president if he would have used bill clinton in 2000 in arkansas which he lost but potentially would have won. think al gore thinks about that a lot over these years. all right, thanks very much. no doubt bill clinton could be a huge asset for the democrats in the coming months. the investigation right now, new concerns lead government officials to pull them and it's the newest fight against that gushing oil in the gulf of mexico. we're getting an exclusive look. they're the sound of south af r africa world cup but today the view view zell la's had a didn't purpose. they had nothing to do with soccer.
they're going to shut down some of the valves see how the pressure is going. if all goes as worked the oil will stop coming oust the cap over there. this will be a major huge development and shut down the oil that's gushing out of the well for the first time in three months. we're all over this story.
we're not leaving. stay with us for the latest. in the meantime let's check in with lisa sylvester. she's monitoring some of the other top stories. we're keeping our fingers crossed. we're hoping when they close those valves we're not going to see oil coming out any more. >> that is so true. a lot of people are hoping this is what does the trick. in other news toyota shares are on the rise because of new reports suggesting that some of the company's vehicle troubles could actually have been caused by driver error. the report which appears in the wall street jushl implies that some drivers say their vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly holding down the gas pedal. thining the food and drug administration is investigating the safety of a popular diabetes drug and could vote as early as tomorrow on whether to remove it from store shelves. a senate committee alleges that
avandia's manufacturer glaxosmithkline promoted the drug despite its known concerns. it raises the risk of heart problems. glaxosmithklein, however, says it is safe. and a french ban on burkas or any vaeils that cover the faces of women could be around the corner. the government says the veils cannot be tolerated in any public place. the measure will now go on to the senate whether it will be voted on in the fall. wolf sth. >> thank you. don't go too far away. other news coming up. remember we're standing by for the tests to begin on the new oil well cap. we're getting an exclusive look at a high-tell weapon against it. stand by. also questions about bp and whether it actually played a role, a significant role in britain's relief of a convicted
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iranian scientist's now turned up at the pakistani embassy. the legendary owner of the new york yankees, george steinbrenner. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." at some point perhaps in the next hour we could see the beginning of the end of that big dark gush over oil that's been tainting the gulf of mexico for 85 days. we're standing by for testing to begin on the new cap bp placed on its ruptured wellhead. over the course of those tests we should learn if the leak is sealed and the oil is stopped. even if that happens, there should still be plenty of oil left in the gulf to clean up. we've been getting an exclusive look at one of the most high-tech weapons to take care of the spill. ines, tell us what you're been
discover. >> reporter: over the past few weeks they've been flying overhead to see where the oil was. they were doing it with technology that wasn't intended for this purpose and we've been able to get exclusive access to it. it's the newest weapon to fight the oil in the gulf. it's known as aspect, an epa plane equipped with infrared and speck trow graph technology originally designed to sniff out weapons of mass destruction, it's now tracking the streaks of oil making their way to the beaches and marshes of the gulf coast. >> long stream about 20. >> reporter: the epa started to use the plane to test air sam is pls after the deepwater horizon in april. but scientists stumbled onto another use. it could see oil in the water much easier than the human eye, discontintinguishing it from al
seaweed. but at first the epa didn't know how to effectively communicate with the coast guard and put a temporary halt on its use in some parts of the gulf. mississippi congressman gene taylor said he fought to keep the aircraft flying. >> in the past few weeks things have gotten substantially better, getting skimmers where they need to be getting, every vessel engaged in cleaning up and not just pointing out a problem. >> reporter: using google everyone can access the location. it at first took hours to gather and analyze, now the data is transmitted to the coast guard within minutes. >> you may be over in this area here and you don't know there's oil over here, so you have no way of getting over there to it. any direction that these guys can get so they can move their boats into the right area is what makes the thing work. >> a key tool to keep the oil from overwhelming the shore. now, right now the epa has one
plane with this kind of technology. they recently represented another one with the same technology, and a long term plan, wolf, is for them to expand the fleet and expand the use of the technology, wolf. >> all right. that's good reporting. today obama send as bill for $99.7 million to bp for the clean-up. it's the fourth bill they've sent related to the disaster. the others total $122.3 million. they've been paid in full. top democrats are reviving questions about bp's possible link to the 2009 release of the lockerbie bomber. was britain's de sigs. these are sear yaus allegations. brianna, what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, bp has a huge multimillion-dollar deepwater
oil drilling project off lyibyas coast. democratic lawmakers are asking if this has something to do why the lockerbie bomber was released early. three months to live. that's how long scottish authority said the lockerbie bomber had to live when they released him on compassionate grounds. he went home to libya, received a hero's welcome, and almost a year later is still alive. did the libyan government pay off the doctors who examine ed megrahi. >> and they fabricated. a doctor was paid, it said torque change his analysis, his examination of what this man's condition was like. so they said maybe three months to live, and here now he's saying this guy could live ten years. so he was released so he could join his family while he took away other people's family
members. it's outrageous. >> reporter: frank lautenberg says the real reason he was released was to smooth over an oil agreement. >> you're convinced there was a deal struck here. >> absolutely. i smelled the rat. we now see that bp had spoken to the uk, talked about the enormous $20 billion deal that might go on with libya and might be if this man is returned. >> reporter: they're demanding investigations by the british government, the u.s. state department and the senate foreign relations committee. >> and you're not a finance of offshore oil drilling or deep water drilling of bp. these are not -- >> right. they're not my choices. but that has nothing to do -- the fact that it's bp, coincidence. >> reporter: now the state department says lit look at
these senators' request for investigation but it's not sure how much it can do about the release of ail megrahi at this point. they said it is a matter of public record that back in 2007 they spoke with the government and said slow progress on a prisoner release, on a prisoner libyan release could hurt business relations. business relations with libya. but they insist, wolf, that there is no specific discussion about al megrahi's release. >> in general terms. thanks, brianna, very much for that. we're keeping close watch on the underwater cameras for bp. critical tests could begin at any moment now. it could finally -- we can only hope and pray it could finally stop the oil from leaking. plus you don't see the words made from china on the bottle, but that's a good chance that's where your ibuprofen came from.
the white house today is predicting the senate will pass the extension of the unemployment benefits next week. members have been arguing for weeks about its size and cost. let's bring in our senior political analyst david gergen. the debate is under way right now. who's right. the democrats are saying the folks need the help, let's do it wrrks a lot of republicans say, yeah, they need the help, but let's find a way to offset the expenditure, cut some money else where in the federal budget to pay for the unemployment extension. >> well, wolf, i'm a deficit
hawk and believe very strongly we need to find ways to start cutting spending. having said that, i don't think it makes any difference. the critical thing is to extend the benefits. it's the morally decent thing to do. the conservative argument against this, well, if you keep zending the benefits, they won't look for work. that's true in regular times. these are hard times. they can't find work. they've been unemployed for six months. we've got people who are hurting. we've bailed out banks. why can't we make other people who are working hole. >> the other side of the argument. listen to erskine, he was the chief of staff in the clinton white house. they had to come up with ways to deal with the long-term debt. listen to what he said the other day in a meeting with governors. >> this debt is like a cancer. it is truly going to destroy the
country from within. that is a formula for disaster. >> well, so the argument is why not find this pay-go. find way. there's a lot of, fat, let's say, in the budget out there. if you need to come up with a way to extend the unemployment benefits, let's make sure our children and grandchildren don't pay for it. >> if you can't find it don't let that be an excuse for not helping people who are in trouble. i happen to be at that session with the governor. we spent an your afterwards talking about the problem. they're right. we're going to have the most predictable issue in history. at this point the cost of medica medicaid, medicare and social security alone, just those three, equal the amount of revenue that the government is taking in. everything else is borrowed. >> last week barney frank, a liberal democrat, ron paul,
conservative republican, they said they can save a trillion dollars over the next decade just by eliminating some defense spending. >> i'm not at all clear we ought to take it out of the national bill. secretary gates is trying to work hard to get defense spending under control. erskine bowles is working on it. saying within a year or two you've got being on a strong deficit track. gloria was talking to you about it a little while ago, americans are divided about whether we ought to stimulate now or cut but an overwhelming majority say we ought to extend unemployment benefits. it ooh tess right thing to do. >> there's a lot of people that are in trouble right now. i know you have a column on this whole issue at cnn.com, which is very good. >> i do. on behalf of cutting steps. we've got to do it over the long haul. >> i remember when you were working in the clinton admin
zriepgs snool could another one be emerging right now. the popular vuvuzela's world cup tournament now being used to fight the massive oil spill in the gulf. what's going on. we'll tell you. hey, it's great to see you're back after that accident. well, i couldn't have gotten by without aflac! if you're hurt and can't work, who's going to help pay for gas?
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not suspected of passing classified intelligence to russia. he arrived in the united states in october and has been monitored ever since. you will remember a major spy swap between russia and the united states took place last week. and it is probably the noisiest souvenir from this year's world cup tournament in south africa. now the vuvuzela is being used to help combat the oil disaster in the gulf of mexico. demonstrators blowing on the renowned horns blowing at london's bp headquarters to protest the company's handling of the spill. proceeds from this event are expected to go toward gulf recovery efforts. >> and it is official. paul the octopus, the one who correctly predicted the outcome of eight consecutive matches? he's retiring from the business. the german area yum where he lives might establish a school to teach the other little octopi
to follow in his foodsteps. he successful predicted spain's victory. pretty impressive, but i'm not sure that that is a skill that can necessary by be duplicated. >> good for paul. he can retire. thank you very much. we're standing by for a make-or-break moment in the gulf of mexico right now. testing on the new well will begin any moment. we'll be watching to see if the oil flow stops. stand by. and a new twist in the case of a missing iranian scientist. not missing but the story is just as strange as ever. host: could switching to geico really save you fifteen percent
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firswh will do firsthing. with e, e rs4g? firshaan hdmi out.♪ ly fm rint,thnone deafhaand opitspee dit access www.sprinty listen to this criticism. harry reid the senate majority leader leveled against president obama saying he's simply not tough enough with republicans. >> i think that he is on many occasion -- i should say many occasions, a few occasions he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle. he's a person who doesn't like confrontation. he's a peacemaker. and sometimes i think you have
to be a little more forceful and sometimes i don't think he is. >> all right. that's pretty strong chris sichl from hearry reid of the president. >> i don't think he was criticizing him. i think he was responding to what do you dislike about the president's approach. he's though every day up against the republicans trying to stall the legislative agenda. senator reid's approach is much different from the president's who's trying to find people like scott brown, olympia snowe and others whether will come onboard. i think the president is a pragmatist, a real list, but he's -- beyond all that cool, that is one tough dude under all that wonderful cool charm he has. >> do you agree that president obama is a man who doesn't like confrontation, he's a peacemaker? >> no, i don't. obviously he's not watching the
sit room because last time we were on we talked about obama's new road trip. he has nothing to defend as evidences by all the polls. they're consistently showing that he's hemorrhaging rhemorrhm the right and the center. he talks about the need for president obama to be more controversial with the health care debate, but the problem was not with the health care debate, but with the democrats. harry reid needs to watch more "sit room" and obama needs to be tougher. >> donna, i know you want to respond. >> well, harry reid was saying that president obama is someone who listens and brings in the republicans and says, hey, if you have good ideas, bring them on the table. the last thing we need is a president who pushes people around and not listening to the other side.
he is comfortable listening to the republicans and the democrats alike. >> talk about the senator from louisiana, one of the senators, david vitter, mary, and he is causing a buzz out there, this video was posted by the liberal website talking points memo in which he said, you know what, those who raise questions about whether or not president obama was actually born in the united states may have a point. let's listen. >> i personally don't want to bring litigation in court, but i support conservative organization who would bring that court. >> if you didn't understand that, he said he would support conservative legal organization who would bring that so-called birther issue to court. what do you think about that, mary? >> i think that senator viter who is a otherwise good senator has had a bad couple of weeks. i don't know if that is a response the losing the sea legs here or the fact that he has a legitimate challenge here in the
former supreme court judge opponent. that was not a cool thing to say. i don't think it is going to be impressive here in the state, but at the end of the day, and the end of the election cycle, the democrat who has done well as have all of the congressional delegation on the spill, he might be more competitive, but it is going to be a republican seat. >> you know, it is quite a thing though when you think about it, donna, that a sitting united states senator says, you know, maybe there is something to it, and maybe there should be a legal challenge to the whole birther issue that the president has been daunted with at least by the fringe elements out there. >> well, i think they it is a frivolous lawsuit. if anyone is still pursuing it, we have seen the documents and the state of hawaii, and we have seen the birth notices from the local paper, and i don't know what else they would like to see. he is made in the usa like many of the rest of us. but look, that aside, mary is
right, senator vitter now has a challenger from the other side, and a supreme court justice in louisiana, and he has to fight for the seat. and he has gone across the state talking about the things that the people care about jobs and making sure that the economy can bounce back from the recession and the oil spill. louisiana does not need another scandalous politician at this point. and if senator vitter needs some things to file a lawsuit, look, there are a lot of people down there who cannot get their claims from bp, and file a lawsuit on their behalf. that is what we need down in louisiana. >> quickly, mary. >> well, his biggest problem is being in the senate led by harry reid to come full circle. so senator vitter and any republican running for the seat, the huge advantage is that obama is this whole campaign is going to be a competition on a ref n
refrenda on president obama. >> and so -- >> this is a conversation we have to close for the time being. standby with more breaking news for bp. and if you have a headache, check out the medicine you are taking, could be made in china and not subject to tough inspections. and will a native lacrosse player get to play in the championship. we will have a dispute over the passports. >> this is a men's team.
the prices. the profits. the pollution. what's next from the big oil companies? a multi-million dollar smear campaign... ...to stop clean energy legislation from passing in the us senate. the clean energy bill will produce more power here in america for us. and big oil knows that means less dependence on them. it's time to take charge with clean american energy.
more now on the food and drug administration investigation of a safety of a popular diabetes drug and a vote as early as tomorrow as to whether to remove it from the store shelves. here is cnn's doctor sanjay gupta. >> turn it on and let it heat up. >> reporter: edward darden was diagnosed with diabetes ten years ago. in 2006 he started to take avandia to control the blood sugar and then came a study in the new england journal of medicine which had the line of 43% increase in heart attacks. in 2007 as well, and now an update last month for a presentation to the fda. >> well, we have had evidence for a number of years that avandia increases the risk of heart attack in diabetic patients. >> reporter: but in 2007 this same panel voted 22-1 that the
evidence was ftoo weak to take avandia off of the market. and one problem was a study that was funded by dwlglaxosmithklin. it is taking some heat, and on friday, avandia said that the record is full of holes and that the researchers did not follow up on results of bad outcomes even the patients who died. >> i have been following the fda for 20 years, and i have never seen a report as blistering has the record trial. >> reporter: this is a top glaxo scientist and we asked him to come on camera, and he did not want to before the hearing. he did tell us by phone that avandia is safe, and he said that six clinical studies, not just record back him up. it is extremely confusing for diabetes specialists like this doctor at washington center.
>> there is a lot of information out there, and we don't know which to believe. i think that this is whe we rely on the governing agencies to give us direction as to whether the medicine is safe or not. >> if there is a better alternative and something without as much risk, i would rather do that, and that is what i want to do. >> reporter: mr. darden didn't wait. he switched to another medication. he is not alone. prescriptions of avandia are down by 2/3 in the last three years. dr. sanjay gupta, cnn, reporting. you are in "the situation room." happening now, final preparations for test that could be a turning point in the gulf oil disaster. it is expected to begin any moment now and the end result could be complete containment. we are following every critical development. standby. a stunning twist in the case of a missing iranian nuclear scientist seeking refuge at an embassy here in washington, d.c. was he kidnapped and tortured by
the united states as iran alleges? and the details of the passport dispute that has a lacrosse team stranded in new york. we want to welcome in the viewers of the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blilts tzer, and you an i'm wolf blilts tzer, and you an "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com the next few hours are among the most critical in the gulf oil disaster as the crews begin an integrity test of the new cap now in place on top of the gushing oil well. possible outcomes range from complete containment of the oil to more damage to the well casing, potentially, potentially making the leak even worse. cnn's chad meyers is monitoring it all for us. he has a great appreciation of what is going on. explain to our viewers what we are seeing and learning right now, chad. >> we have been looking at the bottom of the ocean here for all day long for the final valves to be shut off on a new, basically, a cap, but it is a really cap.
not that thing with the hose that was hooked up to it all of the way to the top of the ocean, and then hooked up to a ship that was sucking the oil out. this cap literally is, like a bottle cap. now, it is a bottle cap with three valves that they will slowly shut down hoping that the blowout preventer did not lose enough integrity that the whole thing blows up on the bottom of the surface of the ocean. that is the good news. they are hoping it does not happen. if something like that happens, then all of the sudden we will have another out of control well and the only thing to stop it is to complete the relief wells they are drilling already right now. here is what happened if you remember. coming out of the top of the blowout preventer a long time ago was a pipe. it went up to the surface and bent over and fell over and kinked when the entire thing exploded on the surface of the ocean. that kink was cut off, but not very well. we could not get a good seal. that piece of brass that you are seeing above the word developing
story, that is the new part that they lowered all of the way down to the ocean yesterday. and they put it on top of this blowout preventer. it is smooth. it is casing, and there it is, that piece of brass that is the new hookup, and see how smooth it is? that is another piece that is going to go on top of that 150,000 pounds of steel on top of that and connect it literally to the blowout preventer. so now, they have valves to completely close, could completely shut the well down, and that would be the best case scenario. if they only can get it partially stopped, that would be okay. and then they would hook up another hose and suck the oil back up to the surface. they don't want to do that, wolf. they want to shut down this well altogether, because if they can shut it down halfway and then a hurricane comes and there is a ship up there sucking the oil, the ship has to leave and then again, we have oil coming out unabated, and this a permanent
solution fit works. this is 8,000 psi and when they shut the valves, there 18,000 psi inside of the old blowout preventer and when that happens, you could literally blow the whole thing out. there goes the cap and the broken part that is no good anymore. they could not seal it. brand new seal to be put on of the it with a three-valve system, and when they shut it down, from top to bottom, all of the valves on top, the oil literally could stop flowing for the first time in what 85-something days. >> that would be great news. >> amazing. >> but they have to clean up the gulf of mexico and the beaches which could take years if not decades and they have a huge job ahead of them, but right now, we still see the oil gushing off of the top and to make it clear, once they close the valves, the three vavls a valves at the top
works the way we want it to, the oil will stop gushing from the top, and it will be quiet? >> that is exactly right. they don't want to do it too quickly and they want to make sure that when the explosion happened at the surface that the blowout preventer that is down below the new cap still has integrity. so they have to slowly increase the pressure overnight tonight and into tomorrow to make sure that the whole thing doesn't just explode underneath the new cap, and then you have oil coming out all over. they don't want to get to that point. they want to make sure that that blowout preventer was not severely damaged from the initial blowout two and a half months ago. >> we will stay on top of this. don't go away, chad, because if the valve starts to close and the oil stops gushing, i want you to come back and explain to the series, because it is a complicated and sensitive operation. >> we will know it is going to happen, because we have other pictures of not only valves, but
pictures that are showing gauges and pressure begins to rise onl so we will have a look at the oil stopping before it stops. i will shout to you when that happens. >> do you have access from where you are from all of the underwater cameras, chad? i am looking at the pictures and i yoo wassed to see ed tsed tse oil gushing, but i am missing it here. is this something significant or just missing a camera angle? i don't know if you can see all of the shots. >> yes, i can see them, and so can all of the public if you go to bplive pickpictures on google search, you will go to the link with 16 separate feeds from the surface of the bottom of the ocean floor. and some of those are very
random pictures, but the one that i am looking at, two of the pictures that show literally gauges from zero to 15,000 psi. and right now, that needle is on zero. when it starts to go up we will know that they are shutting the vavl valves. >> all right. standby, chad. it is impossbling to overstate how critical this operation is to ending this gulf oil disaster. cnn's brian todd talked about it with national incident commander and retired coast guard admiral thad allen in houston. >> reporter: how big is this day? the biggest day in the operation so far you think? >> well, one of the biggest days. we will learn a lot today about the condition of the well, the amount of pressure and potentially the flow rate which will not only help to us contain the oil, but it will give us a lot of information to learn how to kill the well in addition. >> reporter: if that ceiling cap is tight enough, do you think that this is the day that you shut down that well for good?
>> well, we know it is a good seal, but the question is what is the pressure inside of the cap, itself? and the variance in pressure could be indicative of a lot of things, but one thing we are worried about is low pressure which would tell us that maybe there is a problem with the structural integrity of the wellbore casings itselves, and hydrocarbons going out into the formation, and we will watch that closely. >> reporter: you said that once the collection is complete, then you will have to heighten the collection efforts. >> well, there is a decision point to shut the well in and can that be sustained, or do you want to have a little risk mitigation and continue to produce the oil. as long as the hydrocarbons are captured and not going into the environment, it is a tradeoff between what is a long-term state of just shutting the well in versus continuing to produce the oil which is a insurance or hedge against the fact that the pressure may cause a problem somewhere else, and those are decisions to be taken on the
rere reality of the test when it happens. >> reporter: who will make the call? you, secretary chu, general wells? >> well, the data has to be given and we have to understand the context, and those have to be understood, and there are going to be differences of interpretations, and we will have to maintain a consensus, and this is not something that you have to make a decision by, so from secretary chu, and the support team and toufl people wo -- all of the people working here for so many months and this requires collaboration with bp to interpret what we are seeing down there. >> reporter: are you making the final call here? >> well, there will be some sdis cushions, be new tend how we effectuate any decision, it is a communication from the federal
on scene coordinator to bp under u.s. law and regulations, so that the final effect of this is an order from me to bp. >> reporter: how much pressure do you feel about making that call and how it could affect the operations? >> well, the input from all of the scientific community and the best minds of the world to work on this, and wherever we are at, i am confident it is not a thad allen decision, but a decision for the best of the country. >> reporter: and a question that people are asking, now that the containment cap is on, why did it take so long to make this move? >> because we lad to mahad to m containment cap, and there are a variety of them, and none of these existed before this spill occurred, and as fast as they could engineer and build a device to test it, and the first one was a elementary riser insertion tool, and that is an inelegant way to recover some of the oil, but a lot of the stuff and the reason we have had success in the last 4 hours is
that they have had time -- last 24 hours is that they have had time to engineer the equipment, and do desktop exercises to understand how it will come together, and they started from ground zero in building the equipment. so it was not something that was decided not to be a good idea, because we knew it would be from the start, but the question was how to build it and get it to the scene. >> reporter: but what about when people say, they are just throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks? what do you have comment on that? >> well, there are other oil producing companies, and all along we are making sure that the best industry standards are followed, and this is technologically logical of what is going on in the current situation, and this is what most people in the industry would have done, but it is difficult, and 5,000 feet and no human access and never been done before. >> 553 miles of gulf shore coast is now oil disturbed.
99 miles in mississippi and 66 miles in alabama and 75 miles in florida. take a look at, this almost 84,000 square miles of water now off limits to fishing, because of the disaster. that is about 35% of the entire gulf of mexico. jack cafferty is off today. up next, registered sex offenders traveling to known tourism destinations on u.s. passports. we are demanding answers. this scientist says he was capture and tortured by the u.s., and now he has turned up, but the mystery surrounding this case is far from over. they have traveled on their own passports for years and now members of the indigenous tribe find themselves stranded in new york, and in a growing dispute with the state department. of one financial company that grew stronger through the crisis. when some lost their way, this company led the way.
let's update you on what is going on right now. you see live pictures and the oil continues to gush from the top of that well even though there is a new cap, there are valves still open, and three of them atop that well. they are going to start slowly, presumably very soon to shut down those valves, hoping to end this nightmare at least for now. we are watching this very, very closely. standby, we are all over this story. meanwhile, there is a new government report that finds that thousands, repeat, thousands of registered sex offenders are issued united states passports and some of them are fleeing to foreign
countries known for illegal sex tourism with children as it is called. abbey bu drie boudreau of cnn's investigations unit is here with the details. give us the details, because it is shocking. >> well, the government accountability office was asked to find out the number of sex offenders who were issued passports and come up with case studies of those people. so out of the 16 million passports issued in fiscal year 2008, about 4,500 were issued to registered sex offenders. the report also uncovered that at least 30 of them were federal employees. government workers from the department of treasury, nasa, the u.s. postal service and from the defense finance and accounting service. wolf? >> what is the state department saying about all of this? >> well, they say it calls the gao document very misleading. a state department spokesman told us earlier today that there
are no legal grounds to deny a sex offenders a passport and rigorously adheres to the u.s. law in issuing the passports, but the state department did indicate to the gao, it is interested in looking at the legislation to deny passports to sex offenders, but wolf, we learned that there is a law that the state department must deny passports to those sex offenders who were violating the sex tourism statute which is when a sex offenders travels overseas to commit crimes with underaged person, but when asked about it, the state department said they were not aware of the statute. >> are there circumstances that the state department can prevent a passport? >> if you are behind in child
support or outstanding felony warrant or if you were convicted of certain drug trafficking crimes, the state department could deny you a passport, but otherwise, it is not difficult to get a passport with a criminal history. there is a case where a sex offender was issued a passport by the state department while he was in prison, and that was perfectly legal. >> did the reports say where some of the sex offenders who get u.s. passports are heading? >> well, it found several case where is they traveled to locations known for sex tourism, and many of the offenders traveling to mexico which the gao says it is considered a destination for sex tourism. here is what makes this so dangerous, wolf, is that many cases like this, according to the gao, mexico does not have a sex offender registry, so there is no way to track the offenders. >> disturbing story, abbie boudreau of our special investigations unit.
again da says there that may have been a third bombing planned for the country's capital. they say that a belt was later recovered at a trash can at a nightclub in kampala, and it is similar to others used in the bombing attacks. prisoners released from cuba yesterday will live in spain where they will have new lives. the disdenlts issued a joint statement saying that the release is a step toward bringing democracy to cuba, and the cuban government has agreed to free 45 other jailed dissidents. according to a rights group, that is one-third of the political prisoners on the island. now to the bahama where is the so-called barefoot bandit pleaded guilty to illegally landing a plane in that country. colton harris-moore was ordered to spend three months in jail or pay a $300 fine. he is expected to be deported to the united states where he will likely face charges alleged to a
two-year crime sprae since he escaped from a halfway house in 2008. that san amazing case, wolf. indeed, lisa. thank you. a young man from yemen is back home after being held by the united states for eight years in guantanamo bay. in releasing muhammad hudani, the united states abided to the ruling where he should be freed and repatriated with no evidence that he has any connection to al qaeda. he went on to say, and i am quoting the judge. respondents have kept a young man from yemen in detention in cuba from age 18 to 26. they have prevented him from seeing his family and denied him the opportunity to complete his studies and embark on a career. the evidence before the court shows that holding him in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the united states more secure. the u.s. suspended reparations
of yemeni detainees after a al qaeda affiliate was implicated in the failed christmas day bombing on a u.s. plane, and while the pentagon honored the judge's ruling, they say that a suspension remains in place. strong words from the judge against the detention of that young man. we are following the critical developments in the gulf of mexico. dramatic developments. a test that could lead, could lead to the total containment of the oil leak that could start any moment now. we will have latest. also, new twists and turns in the case of a missing iranian scientist who believed to have knowledge of the country's nuclear program, and the sudden disappearance deepening the mystery. and also, the owner of the yankees, george steinbrenner and his death and the impact on the game he loved. ♪
let's get back to the top story right now. the critical test and a new cap on the gushing oil well in the gulf of mexico. it could start at any time, and possibly result in complete containment of all that crude that continues to spew from atop the well. cnn's brian todd is monitoring all of this from houston where bp has its command center. update the viewers on the very latest. we got the pictures, brian, showing that the oil continues to flow atop that cap. >> that is right. we just got some pictures, wolf, that show that, that it is
flowing freely out of the top of the cap. we got other pictures where we were not sure about that, but the one you are referring to here, it shows that they have not shut down the choke-and-kill lines or the valves, the three-ram valves that are critical to the operation for when they shut those down, that is when they start the testing of the pressure of the well in earnest. we spoke with the bp officials a short time ago and they were not able to tell us if that testing started in earnest. what we do know is that they have done seismic testing of the area near the leaking wellhead. they have run acoustic sensors and cleared vessels out of the surface area in order to run the sensor testing, and now it is time for pressure testing that should be under way. we were led to believe it started in the last hour, and may have, but bp officials have not told us any possible results or whether it has begun in earnest but as long as you see th oil leaking out from the
underwater camera, you can surmise that the choke and kill lines and the pressure has not started in earnest. >> so once they close the valves, presumably if all goes as everyone hopes, we won't see anymore oil leaking from the top. the pressure test, brian. >> right. >> do we know how long that test goes on for? >> well, they said it could take as little as six hours to get results from it, but could take as long as 48 or more hours. this is really unchartered ground for a lot of the researchers and these officials here, because they have never done it at depths like this before, 5,000 feet below the surface. so, they are going to probably, you know, leave a large window there before they can give us results there. are critical numbers to remember, and if nay get pressure readings of 8,000 to 9,000 pounds per square inch, that is a good sign. the higher the pressure, the more they can tell that the cap is holding, that the well is strong enough to hold the cap and hold the oil in. if the pressure is about 6,000
pounds per square inch or less, then that is not a good sign. it is a sign that it is leaking from elsewhere in the well, and they will probably have to let some of it out, and siphon it up, and continue the testing, and we don't know at this point whether it is successful or not. >> we just want to see the top of the oil well with the oil stop spilling out, and everyone, everyone can focus in on cleaning up the gulf of mexico which could take years if not decades. other important news that we are following the bizarre case of an iranian scientist with knowledge of iran's nuclear program. he vanished in a pilgrimage to mecca and missing for months amid abduct rumors of abduction torture of the u.s. he turns up in washington, d.c., and the mystery has not been
solved. chris lawrence has been working the story for us. what do we know, chris? >> well, wolf, the scientist is now saying that the american drugged him in and over the past year asked him all kinds of questions about iran's nuclear program, but multiple u.s. officials tell us that is not true. he asked to come here and he has been speaking freely. >> reporter: he is an iranian scientist who came to america, and if you believe iran, shahram amiri was kidnapped by u.s. officials. but one official says it make ns no sense of him to defect. >> he is here of his own free will and free to go. >> reporter: he disappeared in a pilgrimage to mecca. he took refuge in the embassy asking to go home. there is an iranian section there in a separate building. >> reporter: iranian tv
broadcast this video a few months ago showing him in the u.s. claiming he was tortured. it did not show a second slicker video where he is living free and clear in arizona. >> i am in america, and intend to continue my education here. >> reporter: in a third, amiri is back to saying he has just escaped the cia captors. >> i was not prepared to betray the country under threats or bribery of the u.s. government. >> reporter: he worked at a u.s. university that is connected to iran's powerful revolutionary guard. they say he was not a top scientist in iran and he didn't have access to sensitive informati information, but a former u.n. weapons inspector said -- >> he asked to come here and he provided useful information on nuclear weaponization activities in iran and namely in the process of plaqmaking nuclear weapons, themselves. >> reporter: it is possible he
was a double-agent, but put pressure on his family who did not come with him to the u.s. so, once he is back in iran, he may end up an unlikely hero. >> if iran threw him in jail right now, it would be an admission that he had defected, so they have the treat him well to back up the story that somehow he was kidnap and tortured. >> reporter: on the other hand, some sources say that iran really does not care what the world thinks and that amiri could be in danger. there was a report on iranian tv that cnn had offered amiri $10 million just to appear on our air in some sort of interview, and cnn spokesman said there is absolutely no truth to that report. and wolf, probably the craziest thing about that story is that cnn would have $10 million laying around. >> we would not offer him $10 to appear on our program. >> right. standby, chris.
let's dig deeper on the story with the national security contributor fran townsend. she was the homeland security adviser in the bush administration and worked in the justice department in the clinton administration and member of the cia external advisory board. is it conceivable based on what you know, fran, that he could have been kidnapped, brought to the united states, tortured and questioned? >> no. i mean, look, this is not -- this is the stuff spy novels and movies, but not the stuff of reality. he was in, what we know from the public facts is that he was in mecca, and on the haj, and we know that the government of saudi arabia takes the responsibilities in that hauj quite seriously and he may have approached someone and willing to cooperate or offered information. he winds up in the united states and no way he is brought in by the cia or anybody else against his will. even when the feds want to bring somebody into the u.s., it
requires documentation, and he would have gone through immigration, and so it is not possible that he would have been secreted into the country by the intelligence authorities. frankly, wolf, he had to have some relationship to agree to come into the united states, and he changed the mind. i think it is pressure on the family. if he came here without them, they are in the most danger by virtue of his video. >> well, if he had gone back to cooperate with the u.s. intelligence community, the iranians may throw him in jail or worse. >> right. but there is also concern on the american side, wolf, because of course, there is what we call the counterintelligence problem. they want to know, and the iranians are going to question him whether it is under duress and in jail or cooperatively, want to know, how did you make contact with them, and what kind of questions did they ask and what could you tell from that, and now there are things that he could tell them about experience
with the u.s. authorities that will help the iranians. >> but the u.s. could stop him from leaving if they wanted? >> but this is someone that we did not have criminal process, so if he wanted to leave, as secretary clinton said, he is welcomed to go, but it is dangerous for him. >> thank you, fran. major league baseball here in the united states holds thet will tell you about the passing of the legendary yankees owner george steinbrenner.
attack a week after his 80th birthday. he was the longest tenured owner in major league baseball, and he was a larger than life impact. let's talk about him with john king who is the host of "john king usa" which starts a at the top of the hour and krng en's richard roth who is joining us from atlanta right now. richard, first to you, what was the impact of george steinbrenner on baseball? >> oh, it is tremendous. he signed jim "catfish" hunter in 1975 and started the whole explosion of free agent baseball talent that carried over into ore sports. he built the brand of the new york yangs and the most famous brand arguably around the globe compared to some soccer teams. he was larger than life and a new york figure for all of the times that we lived through in the 70s and the 80s and the 90s. and he had an awful way of dealing with employees and also
stepping in and doing charitable work, but he wanted to win. he said that winning was more important than breathing. it was his stepping touch the plate, if you may, to back up the words that other owners talk a little bit and don't put out the money, and i'm sure that the red sox learned a lesson from him and started to spend more in beantown, right, john? >> well, let's talk to john about that, because he is a lifelong boston red sox fan, but he did have an impact on baseball and the red sox. >> well, he was the owner that you loved to hate, but you had respect for him, because he cared first and foremost and second and third about winning. tom yawkey who was a great man and family man and they didn't have the money to spend that george steinbrenner had, so there was resentment of red sox nation about why they couldn't do it. but what made red sox' fans strike their heads is the trade
for sparky lyle, and they dubbed the new york yankees the evil empire, and it was about george steinbrenner and he was a man who fundamentally changed baseball and put the franchise back on the map, and if you grew up where i grew up, those are the hated yankees in a respectful way. >> and he is accused of taking the spotlight away from major league baseball and he woulddo a trade in the middle of the world series and all of the newspapers would cover it and here he has died in the middle of the base balseball all-star and so even in passing he triumphs over major league baseball. >> i take it from both of you, he was good for baseball? >> well, he raised the profile of the sport and relished the spotlight and as richard said, he picked the moments to do big things that other owners would grumble about and he relished the rivalry with the red sox and
signed wade boggs and roger clemens away from the red sox and he loved to be photographed with them, because he knew it would wind up in the new york newspapers and as well as the boston newspaper. >> well, look, you want to wipe away some memories, but he was not perfect. he was suspended from ownership, because he had gambling with one of his players dave winfield, and law violations with richard nixon and made a lot of humanity contributions behind the scenes that people are not aware of and new york and american cities need the larger than life personalities, and i think that corporations as we know can tend to be pretty in the dark owners flying around on corporate jets and luxury suites and nobody knows them. but everybody knew george steinbrenner, and he was the boss despite bruce springfield. >> and we remember steinbrenner
and george constanza on seinfeld. we will have more on ""john king usa."" and we will find out why there are serious safety concerns about drugs manufactured in china. [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's new motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. new motrin pm.
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some disturbing new developments are now emerging concerning popular medications you might be using and probably are. could there be some dangerous health risks involved in lisa sylvester is monitoring this for us. what is going on, lisa? >> well, wolf, i have covered a number of food and drug safety stories, but this is troubling, and something that many
americans may not be aware of. first, nearly half of all drugs that americans take are imported from overseas according to an independent study for congress, and many of the drugs are increasingly coming in from china where the plants there are rarely if ever inspected. >> reporter: every time you pop a pill for a headache, there is a good chance that the key ingredients came from china. 61% of all ibuprofen sold in the u.s. and 94% of the tetracycline used in most antibiotics in the united states are made in china according to a recent report by an independent congressional commission. >> their regulatory authorities are rife with corruption. the production at local provinces, they are gauged on how well their economy does, and not how safe the products are that they supply to us. >> reporter: in 2008, 81 americans were killed after being given a tainted blood thinning medicine called heparin that came from china. collene says that her husband was one of them.
>> i watched my husband and best friend slip away before my eyes. >> reporter: two years, what has changed? very little. in recent congressional testimony, the fda admitted it does not have adequate resources to prevent another heparin crisis, and it does not have the ability to control the safety of imported pharmaceuticals and it does not have the adequate authority to keep unsafe drug shipments at the border. >> because of the risks in the system, it is a ticking time bomb. >> reporter: u.s. drug factories are rigorously inspected by the fda, but the same is not true in china where there are language barriers and lax quality standards. the report found from 2002 to 2006 an average of 15 of the 714 drug factories that ship to the u.s. were actually inspected by the fda. and the ones that were received advance notice that tin spectors were coming. >> these foreign inspections are challenging and expensive and ultimately, we need to do more
of them and in fact, the numbers are going up, but not, we are not going to get to every plant every year. >> reporter: the fda is working on a system where countries like australia and those in the european union share inspection information, since they say it is impossible for one country to do it alone. they have added two offices in china and one in other countries. but the fda lacks authority to recall pharmaceutical drougs and even if they catch the tainted drugs they cannot seize or impound or destroy the drugs, so ultimately, it is the u.s. drug companies which is the last resort. phrma says they are required to test. >> they are required to test it whether they receive frit china or elsewhere and before they put it in the product, both before and after. >> reporter: that is designed to catch the problems, but most of
the time they do, but heparin slipped through the cracks and the results were deadly. in the case of heparin, that is a case never been solved. u.s. investigators know that someone deliberately tainted it, but who were the individuals responsible and how was it done? they don't know. so that is troubling, because when there are problems the u.s. does not have the same power in china as here, and so getting to the source to a problem is much more difficult. >> thank you for bringing this important story to us. time for the iroquois lacrosse team to compete in england. we are going to update you on a passport situation that is preventing them from leaving the country. and it is an old twist on monkey see, monkey do. we will explain here.
a passport dispute is threatening to keep the iroquois tribe's national lacrosse team from attending the world championships in britain. it's become more about sports. let's britain in mary snow. she's covering the story in new york. the team was ready to go to kennedy airport, but there's been a snag. what happened? >> reporter: they're still in new york, and time is running out. the lacrosse world championships start thursday in manchester, england. the dispute over their passports
remains at an impasse. they are the iroquois national lacrosse team, members from the u.s. and canada, and they play until their own flag. they are not supposed to be practices in new york city. on their way to england they met a rod block. the team says the u.s. government wouldn't recognize the confederacy for passports. >> it's the passport of our country. we have our sovereignty. it's been recognized since 197, people have been traveling on the passport even before the team was formed. >> the team's executive director says the british government won't grant them visas unless they can guarantee they'll be allowed to return home.
>> the ease yes, sir way to accomplish what they want to accomplish is get them a u.s. passport. we've been willing to do that for a number of days. >> reporter: but team members are only willing to go so far. when it comes down to getting a passport or missing the tournament, how many people are willing to miss this tournament? the decision is unanimous, with team members against gets u.s. passports. one of the coaches, freeman bucktooth explains why. >> it's not taking a stand, but doing the right thing, have people honor or passports, have the governments hon oor what we have. we're one of the oldest governments in the world. >> reporter: team members headed to the airport hopeful a resolution would be worked out. they're receiving support, including from new mexico governor bill richardson, who notes his state has a significant population. richardson wrote a letter to
secretary of state hillary clinton, and janet napolitano, asking for their assistance. but by the time the team reached jfk, there was still no graeme agreement, and the team didn't board any flights. >> we're just being hopeful at this time. the players are here, they're prepared to be prosed and to fly, and we're doing or best. >> wolf, by going to the airport, the team says it was ability to prevent losing their airline tickets. they say they were able to rebook their flight for tomorrow without a penalty, and now they're just hoping someone will step in on their behalf within the next 24 hours. wolf? >> yeah, thinks ridiculous. they should be able to resolved this and let these guys play in the world championship. stay on top of this, mary. fill us in tomorrow on what's going on. thanks very much. >> sure. monkeys train to fight the taliban? cnn's jeanne moos takes a most unusual look at some unusual reports.
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a report on a chinese website puts a most unusual new twist on the trained monkey. cnn's jeanne moos explains. >> reporter: we've seen a cowboy monkey riding a dog. we've seen them serve as waiters, bringing bottles and ashtrays, orangutans box, monkeys walk on stilts, but this we've never seen. >> he trains to attack you.
>> reporter: according to the "people's daily online" out of china. it ended up as one of those memorable animation. taliban fighters are supposedly taking orphan monkeys and teaching them to identify american uniforms and shoot. sounds like something out of the "planet of the apes." jihad monkeys screamed "new york post." "monkey see, monkey kill." even a monkey should shoot a hole in this store, but instead we let an expert on primates take aim, dr. shawn evans. your basic reaction to a jihad monk monkey, holding a gun at american soldiers is -- >> absurd. >> sure they can be trained. watch how protective this pet is when american soldier pushes his owner, but dr. evans says training an impulsive monkey is incredibly difficult. it's possible to teach simple
tasks, or switching on lights and opening doors for the disabled. >> good girl. okay. all right. >> reporter: but identifying and targeting an enemy without the monkey shooting your side? >> i think it's a preposterous suggestion. >> reporter: likewise a u.s. defense official did not find the reports credible "the people's daily" says the cia was the first to try to training monkey soldiers during the vietnam war, yew bananas and peanuts as a reward. nuts, you say? a cia spokesperson said she didn't know anything about t but ham took a 18-minute flight. >> a hero of space, happy to be back among friends. >> yes, they did send monkeys into space, but they weren't in charge of the aircraft. >> imagine having something this impulsive, in charge of a machine gun or a mortar. one blogger imagined a